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Boxes, Boxes!

Creating 3D geometry easily in After Effects 6 By Ko Maruyama
If you're making your own 3D boxes in AE 5, you know it can be done, but what a hassle. Perhaps you saw Digital Anarchy's 3D Assistants, but thought, "I only need a cube." Well, Adobe heard you. Packaged inside the new After Effects 6.0 Pro is 3D Assistants Lite from Digital Anarchy.

If you looked at my previous tutorial on this topic, "Cube Please," and considered making other objects, you know how difficult it is in AE and how quickly you can be turned upside down (without wanting such a result).

Enter Box Creator Lite, Cubic Distribution Light and Cylinder Creator Lite--which are, incidentally, anything but "lite." With these, cubes and other 3D geometric objects are just a click away. So how do you use them? The first thing you'll want to know is how to find them. Unlike the other Digital Anarchy filters, which show up under your Effects menu, these are down at the end of the line under Windows.

The second thing necessary to using these plugins is 3D. As in "Cube Please," 3D layers are required to use these Assistants.

All set? Good. Let's get started with our cube.

The first thing I'll do is import a Photoshop comp with six layers in it. (The layers are just various pieces of a wood texture courtesy of Dave Taylor and Maxon.net.) The six layers are required for a hexahedron (cube). Make sure they are converted to 3D layers and selected, and then open up the window for Box Creator Lite.

Check the "Fit Box to Layers," and hit "Apply." Done!

Wait a minute. Done? Yep. And here's the result.

I added a few lights to show off the 3D depth of the final cube, but the actual creation of the cube was a single-step process.

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